He visited the Tigers during the spring.
”I went down there for the spring game,” said the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Hawkins. “It’s a beautiful campus and has a great environment. Having a chance to play in front of 80,000 fans and experiencing the most exciting 25 seconds in college football – running down the hill – it’s a pretty cool place.
“I also got a chance to talk to (defensive line) coach (Dan) Brooks, who’s my recruiter. He told me to keep working to become a better player.”
Over the summer, Hawkins attended to camps at Duke and North Carolina, with Duke being first.
”At Duke, it was pretty hyped,” he said. “It was a smaller camp, so you got to showcase your talents a little more. My favorite part of the camp was the intensity. All the coaches were really excited.
”I had a chance to speak to my recruiter; (tight ends) coach (Zac) Roper. He told me to keep working and that he’d be watching this fall.”
His next stop was North Carolina.
”It was a pretty good camp and I enjoyed it,” Hawkins said. “It seems like a great place and they have a great coaching staff. I really enjoyed the one-on-ones. They were very competitive.
”I also talked to (tight ends) coach (Seth) Littrell, who’s my recruiter. He just told to keep my grades up and to keep progressing as a player.”
He is excited about his sophomore season.
”Last year being a freshman starting on varsity, I was a little nervous,” Hawkins said. “But this year will be different because I’m going in with some experience. I know what expect as far as the speed and competition.
”As a team, we want to win a state championship. We have to come together and strive for that one goal.”
Freedom opens their season on Aug. 22 at East Burke.